Friday, October 30, 2009

What's coming in SQL Server 2008 R2

There are a lot of things which are a part of SQL Server 2008 R2. These are:
  • Kilimanjaro is now officially SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Support for 256 logical processers
  • Self-service Business Intelligence (BI) in-memory analysis update
  • Utility Data Platform
  • Master Data Services
  • Low Latency Complex Event Processing announcement
  • Geospatial visualizations in Reporting Services
  • Cool SQL Server 2008 stats
 SQL Server 2008 R2

Microsoft has decided on a product name for the next release, SQL Server 2008 R2, so it’s time to say goodbye to “Kilimanjaro”. SQL Server R2 will be shipped in sync with the release of Microsoft Office 2010. Community Technology Previews (CTPs) for SQL Server 2008 R2 will be available in the second half of 2009. SQL Server 2008 R2 “is an incremental release so it's an opportunity to deliver incremental technology on top of SQL Server 2008. On the business intelligence side, the release is aligned with Office 2010.

Support for 256 logical processors

Organizations pushing the high end of scalability will want to take advantage of SQL Server 2008 R2 support for up to 256 logical processors (which requires Windows Server 2008 R2). This is a big improvement over the previous maximum of 64 processors.

Self-Service BI In-Memory Analysis

One of the big things coming in SQL Server 2008 R2 is Self-Service BI, a joint solution that offers though SQL Server, SharePoint, and Excel. “Customers want solutions, not just individual products. Solutions enable employees to seek new business solutions and get better results out of what they have. Ultimately the goal is to allow all the employees in an organization to get the benefits of BI.”

So what effect self-service business intelligence (BI) would have on the relationship between the traditional BI professional and business knowledge workers or decision-makers?

Today we have a consultant or IT expert build a BI solution for employees. That is costly and takes time. Today many users don’t get access to BI tools and data sources. Self-service BI allows them to analyze all that data and create reports, charts, and dashboards and then share solutions and models with colleagues by publishing them through SharePoint.

The biggest innovation in self service BI is in-memory analysis. With advanced compression technology that’s incorporated into the release you’ll have 10s or 100s of millions of data records inside of a laptop’s memory, available to slice and dice instantly to get better insights out of the data. IT Professionals provide the environment, know that data is secure, and know which data sets are being used more. They can refresh the data and apply the right policies. So it’s IT controlled but end users are empowered.

Utility Data Platform

Another major feature of SQL Server 2008 R2 that tackles the control issue is: application and mulitiserver management. When a developer builds an application he or she can specify policies for that application. As the application is deployed the DBA knows about the policies and can enforce them and then manage that application as it moves from server to server or as their data volumes grow to adapt to that. This is part of the vision of what is called the Utility Data Platform where we can provide incremental capacity to users and move databases around servers and provide varying SLAs to customers.

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) has always been great for managing SQL Server. However, SSMS was really for single server management and wasn’t strong in the area of multi-server management. New wizards, dashboards, and enhancements to Policy Based Management will boost SQL Server 2008 R2’s multi-server management capabilities.

Master Data Services

Another TechEd announcement is the inclusion of Master Data Services, a new capability, in SQL Server 2008 R2. Think about different entities that IT needs to deal with such as customers or partners or products. Multiple databases contain multiple information. A single entity can be in multiple databases, with multiple IDs. A business challenge has been reconciling all that data so they can make the right decisions about customers or products using the data. The goal of master data management is to bring all that data together so that we have a single version of the truth—A single authoritative source of data. We do that by synchronizing data across multiple data sources, understanding where there are exceptions, and managing those exceptions. What we’re doing with Master Data Services is building that capability as part of the data platform so when customers buy SQL Server 2008 R2 they get that functionality.

Almost all large organizations face the problem of multiple data definitions where the same data is defined and used differently in various locations. SQL Server 2008 R2’s new Master Data Services (MDS) feature provides a central portal from which administrators can create and update master data members and hierarchies, with the goal of ensuring data consistency across the enterprise.

Low Latency Complex Event Processing

Also announced at TechEd is that Microsoft is working on Low Latency Complex Event Processing. MS is developing this technology with the idea of building a more comprehensive data platform,  there are business opportunities around being able to analyze streaming transient data, identify patterns, and then act on the findings. We’re building a platform to enable customers and partners to build complex event processing solutions. This will be released in 2010. We haven’t announced the packaging or pricing. There will be a CTP in 2009 and for now we’re calling it Low Latency Complex Event Processing. It’s not clear yet if these CTPs will align with the other CTPs in the pipeline.

Geospatial visualizations in Reporting Services

Building on the geospatial data types in the base SQL Server 2008 release, SQL Server 2008 R2's Reporting Services will support reports with visual geographic mapping. New geospatial features include visualizations for mapping routine and custom shapes and support for Microsoft Virtual Earth tiles.

Cool SQL Server Facts

Some interesting SQL Server 2008 facts: There have had over three and a half million downloads of SQL Server 2008; companies in every country, every industry are looking at SQL Server 2008 today; there’s 160% ROI in deploying it just from savings associated with things like Resource Governor, Data Protection, Encryption, and Policy-based management.


Anonymous said...

Is it "Support for 64 logical processers" OR "Support for 256 logical processors"?

Sudhir Chawla said...

Its 256 logical processors.

Thanks for pointing the mistake.